Rendering and Entering Judgments: Distinct and Separate Things

Words mean things, right? They sure do in the judgment collection arena. For example, did you know that rendering and entering judgments are two distinct and separate things?

We need to be very careful about the language we use so that we don’t give potential clients the wrong impression. We certainly do not want to mislead or confuse by using the wrong words.

In our industry, the words ‘rendering’ and ‘entering’ are often used interchangeably. But as far as the courts are concerned, rendering a judgment is completely separate from entering it. The difference between the two has practical implications for us. We cannot legally begin collecting a judgment until it is entered. The same holds true for any judgment creditor.

Judges Render Judgments

The starting place for this discussion is the understanding that a judgment is a court decision. It is a decision reached in either small claims or civil court. So when we say that we collect judgments, what we really mean is that we collect the monetary awards due a creditor as a result of a judgment.

This clarifies the principle that judges render judgments. A judge listens to the evidence from both plaintiff and defendant, then renders a decision accordingly. In cases in which juries are involved, they determine liability before the judge officially renders the judgment. In either case, a judge rendering a decision is only half the equation.

Court Clerks Enter Judgments

Once a court has rendered its decision in a small claims or civil case, that decision then goes to the court clerk for one final step: entering the judgment into the court’s record. A judgment does not become official until this step is completed. Afterward, the clerk sends copies of the judgment to all parties involved.

A judgment creditor cannot begin collection efforts until receiving the document. And in many cases, there is even a waiting period to give the debtor time to appeal. Incidentally, judgments can be pursued in other counties – and even other states – as long as they are entered with the appropriate county courts. A county court can recognize a judgment from another jurisdiction without the need for a second trial.

Making In-House Collections Difficult

Although the differences between rendering and entering judgments may seem trivial, they are actually quite important when it comes time to collect. Furthermore, these sorts of things are what make in-house collection so difficult. There are so many little rules and idiosyncrasies the judgment creditors often find it difficult to know exactly what to do. That is where collection agencies like Judgment Collectors come in.

Collecting judgments is what we do. We work on behalf of our clients to find debtors, locate their assets, and make contact. We have access to a variety of collection tools that have served our industry well for many, many years.

Collecting in-house might be more than you want to take on. We get it. You have more important things to worry about. If you own a small business, you and your employees have customers to take care of. You have jobs to do. You do not need to be distracted by collections.

Judgment Collectors is a collection agency that specializes exclusively in judgments. We work on consignment, meaning you do not pay a dime for our service if we do not collect. You also don’t have to spend another dime after turning your case over to us. We cover all our own expenses regardless of whether we succeed. If you have a judgment that has been rendered and entered, give us a call. We are ready to go.